Posted by: whereintheworldismike | September 9, 2015

Lead the Church Now! #1

As I pray for revival in this country and around the world, I am convinced a brand new brand of leadership is needed in the Church since we left Christendom with it’s political and societal favor. In such a transition from Christendom (political favor) to Post-Christian (out of favor and suspect in the general society), much fall out is bound to happen. This is a process God always takes the Church through when he graciously wants to renew and expand his influence in an area. The apostasy has started but there is still far to go as persecution slowly ramps up in this former land of the free. God will allow pruning for a great revival. Today I start a series on leadership in the Church. Things cannot be like they always have been. Such a course only leads to decline and lost influence.

As I said in Exponential Culture, preachers must work harder to incorporate motivation in their proclamations. Mere information is not enough–even great information–to extend the reign of Christ in human hearts and crossing continents.  We will talk more about this in this resource recommendation.

Bolman & DealMy main exposure to Bolman and Deal goes back to my M.A. Intercultural Studies from Biola University prior to my church planting/multiplication service in Japan–another country where the church is relatively rich but does not experience active persecution.

Pictured is the fourth edition of this landmark book. This textbook has grown it seems in popularity and helpfulness in our current environment. To function effectively and morph as the environment does, we need to consider things we don’t usually talk about in church.

To give just a little taste of what’s inside the book, the authors talk about four interpretations or paradigms of organizational processes.

You might think that we don’t need to think about this in the church however, I found out just how practical it was when we had to terminate a popular leader of a Christian entity. Basically, there are four paradigms for organizational leadership: structural, human resource, political, and symbolic. In our own experience, we found that a political leader is not usually appropriate in a Christian organization. Even though such a leader might marshal a measure of popular favor, God seems to remove his blessing from resolution of complicated situations and even fundraising when a leader relies on his or her craftiness instead of leaning heavily into God’s support. Jesus handled those who approached him politically very well though he himself was not a political leader (Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:15; Luke 20:23). Jesus, of course, could effectively navigate all four leadership approaches. He was not limited to any one but I think his utilization of the paradigms caused individual components to ebb and flow as needed in any given context. Bolman & Deal cropped

Bolman & Deal croppedStructural leaders see everything from the perspective that the most efficient way to do anything is to utilize a natural structure. If all the structural components are in place the job can get done. In planning, strategies are used to set objectives and coordinate resources. The Human Resource leader conversely uses inclusive gatherings to promote participation. Still another way is the political leader who provides arenas to air conflicts and realign power. The symbolic leader plans using rituals to signal responsibility, produce a symbol, or negotiate meaning. Bolman and Deal go into much more detail and I encourage anyone who wants to know more to pick up their book. Christian leaders must take into account all perspectives possible when leading through change or conflict. We must have the structural pieces in place, for example, to catch people and help them back up when they fall amidst all the seductive temptations of our society. We must consider the needs and feelings of followers and work for consensus. We must be careful to not carnally jockey for power or favor those loyal to us in a period of transition, especially. This takes humility beyond what a lot of us are used to. When reorganizing the structural leader realigns roles and responsibilities to fit current tasks and environmental issues. Human Resource leaders work to maintain a balance between human needs and formal roles. The reorganizing political leader redistributes power and forms new coalitions.

There is another interesting book The Emotional Intelligence of Jesus by Oswald and Jacobson. “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). Jesus modeled this perfectly but every approach to leadership has it’s liabilities and opportunities. For example, a leader who uses symbols effectively can inspire and motivate as well as inform when preaching. But such inspiration and motivation can result from manipulation instead of sincere encouragement. We must be growing in E.Q. (cf. TalentSmart) and in holistic application of the Word of God that keeps us within healthy parameters as we lead under Christ’s overarching authority.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 10.28.29 AMWe will encounter many situations at work, in our home, on the street and elsewhere in which we must “be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” As our country is spanked by Almighty God, we must remember that the godly must suffer with the ungodly and keep the perspective that “the future is as bright as the promises of God.” We cannot walk in the flesh because “the wrath of humankind does not accomplish the righteousness of God.”

Finally I ask for prayer because on October 14, 2015 I will present the following powerpoint as I talk about the persecuted church at Biola University. Thank you very much!Two Winged Church Persecution

Even though persecution in this country is relatively light to other countries I travel to, it is real here too and is increasing. We must love God more to stand like our brethren I so admire who will not compromise the truth but continue to speak it in love even if it costs them or even if they have a knife held to their throats.

 


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